Webcoda, Web development, Website Design & SharePoint consultants in Sydney, Australia
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How the discovery phase informs great website design

Categories: Web Design
Jul 25
2017
How the discovery phase informs great website design
Creating a great website design has a lot of fascinating moving parts. And we’re not just saying that because we enjoy it. Lifting the lid on web design is something a lot of digital agencies neglect to do until they have the client in the room, going through the process.

Some digital agencies even completely avoid plumbing the depths of discovery as much as we do at Webcoda as they don’t see the value. But the value is enormous for bunch of different reasons. You can explore process, responses, technology and a gamut of elements. 


That’s why we’re going to lift the bonnet on the website design process and show you what discovery looks like when you work with Webcoda.


Discovering the business

All clients have a vision of the products, services and business they work with every day. How could you not, considering this is where you spend so much of your time? This fount of knowledge is incredible. It means that we get to see inside the perceptions and the practicalities of what it’s like to work within your organisation. 

Plus, we get to experience the past and history of the business from an expert. It means we can assess that past in context of the present workings. And then see with objective eyes where the business needs to move to regarding presentation to reach future goals and plans.

Web design through the client’s eyes means understanding:
  • Your brand, products and the services that you offer
  •  The perception you have of your business as an internal customer
  • The vision you have for your business in the future
  • How you perceive your current customers
  • Your goals for acquiring more customers in future
  • The short and long term goals for the organisation’s future
It’s a process of working through what you have brought with you as well. So when we begin the discovery phase of a web design project, you might bring with you:
  • Current content from your marketing- on and off your website
  • The links to your social media
  • Examples of past effective marketing campaigns
  • Documents, references and testimonials
And anything else that might help the Webcoda team immerse into your website and marketing aims.

Then, we could ask you for things that help us understand your project from a design perspective. This could include things like:
  • Examples of designs you really like
  • Web design impacts such as exploring website users that might have English as a second language, people with disabilities or a high proportion of customers on slow internet connections
  • Mood boards, customer insights and style guides
These pieces of information create boundaries for the creativity plus also provide much needed structure to the process. We take into account the way a business perceives itself through the eyes of the employees and stakeholders. We incorporate what we know about the customers and we also use our own fresh eyes.
This marriage of the old and the new, the customer and the technology, helps create a foundation to explore and build from.


Studying the marketplace

No business operates in isolation, so it’s important to look at the industry it’s in. That’s why looking at competitors and trends within the industry are so important.

Reviewing how the competitors perform is vital. In terms of web design, it will include areas such as:
  • Checking out the features offered on a website
  • Assessing the usability through things such as testing responsiveness and the ability to be used by a new customer
  • Running health checks on SEO performance
  • Assessing the website design trends in the industry against the future life of the project we’re building
  • Looking for the gaps in the user experience not covered properly by competitors
  • Checking for future trends and technology that may impact your ability to perform in the future
Knowing what your competitor’s excel at and need to work on helps us create a website design that pushes you forward as a viable alternative. It also means you have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Plus by viewing what is out in your industry, it gives you the ability to build something that is uniquely your own.

Digging into your customers

Web design discovery would be a lost process without a strong focus on your customers. Here, the Webcoda team really excel.

We work with you to uncover your customers in terms of personality, behaviours, tech usage and more to create a full and complete picture.

The sorts of things we dig into include:
  • Undertaking interviews with your customers to qualify what they want from your product and how to translate that into a technological solution
  • Looking at their motivations, habits and triggers through talking to them and also watching them interact with your products, web presence and more
  • Using quantitative data through surveys and research to establish a solid springboard for assumptions and ideas
  • Studying the pain points, the areas of joy, needs, wishes and wants of your customers via workshops
  • Usability testing that includes asking the customers to test the current product to complete certain common tasks while they think aloud about the experience
Webcoda do what we can to get the right answers from your customers. The aim is to create a user experience that is seamless and encourages usage time and time again. It’s partly designed to iron out frustration but to also make a bridge to a favourite product by using tech to the best advantage.

Assembling the content ahead of the website design

When you speak about content in a website design context, it has a few moving parts to consider.

First of all, you have your branding and tone of voice to consider. This has to be carried through your website effectively.

Then you have considerations like supplying the information that your customers want to access. This can be tricky, especially if you are dealing with large scale projects and/or with situations that involve legal requirements or have a heavy tone to them.

For example, government projects or designing a website for an entire university is going to be more complex than a standard commercial sales website.

From here, you have to see what you have available to you in terms of content as well as any additional content fixtures you may need to include. Think about files you might have for download, brochure materials, video, audio and more. Handling this content efficiently and effortlessly will go a long way to ensuring your customers access it and make use of it.

The missing piece of the content puzzle is also keeping up with Google. Optimising pages, staying ahead of good signals, looking at content presentation in terms of Google signals and so on is important.

Part of the process is ensuring two elements are covered off:
Content audit- we look at all the available information, what will need to be delivered in the future and all kinds of documents and references to ensure they work. That way, the website design has both the assets and the presentation of those assets incorporated right from the get go

Card sorting- we work through a process of card sorting to understand how customers group the contents differently and use the structure for information architecture or navigation of the product. It’s a group exercise that uses a bunch of different pieces of information to pull everything together. 

This is when things truly start to take form and shape. 


Discovery has a big fat human element

Webcoda might not look like the cuddliest kids in the neighbourhood. But we do work to bring together the human elements of great web design for our clients, Sydney and beyond. We know that humans are the ones that run the website and technology after we’ve delivered it. And we know that’s it’s humans that benefit the most from the work we do.

That’s why we spend time to understand your business, your team, goals, dreams, what sets your company apart and more. It’s also why we work hard to ensure that the assumptions we make as developers and designers match up in the real world.

Discovery to use is about peeling back the business side and also uncovering the deep, beating heart of the things you do. The vision and the moments that define what positive interaction means for your customers has to inform great website design. How could it not?

That’s why we take time to discover you and your business before we even start scoping through the requirements of your technology.

Want to know how we can make your next adventure into technology and website design sing? Contact us now!

 
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